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A full house of more than 600 local business leaders and community volunteers attended United Way of the CSRA’s 2014 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 25, at The Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. The meeting wrapped up the organization’s 2013 campaign effort to raise $4.1 million for locally funded health and human service programs. Continuing with its Derby Day theme from the Kickoff last August, United Way treated guests to a Party in the Park for their Post Race Celebration and announced that $4,128,764 was raised by the community.

The event was presented through the generosity of several local corporate sponsors: Premiere Sponsor: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Presenting Sponsors: American Family Insurance and Southern Nuclear Operating Company-Plant Vogtle; Presidential Sponsors: Bienvenidos Press, Georgia Power and University Health Care System; and Executive Sponsor: Electrolux.

Thomas Blanchard III, United Way’s 2013 Campaign Chair, acknowledged the remarkable accomplishment stating that, “We’ve seen great successes and yes, a few challenges, but overall this has been a tremendous year”. He also thanked the many volunteers and supporters who worked together to accomplish this goal.

The event was hosted by WJBF News Channel 6 personalities Jennie Montgomery and Brad Means. Apollo’s Fifth Choir from Hephzibah High School was on hand to entertain the crown and performed an original tune written for United Way by the choir members. In other event news, United Way chose the Annual Meeting to present several key awards:

The 2013 Alvin W. Vogtle Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Rev. Edna Jones. Randy Johnson, Vice President of Operational Readiness for Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, presented the award along with a check for $2,000 to be donated to a charity of choice. Rev. Jones, who was nominated by Walton Options, is a dynamic individual who has a God-given talent for helping others.

The 2013 Spirit of Community Award, which is given to the company who is committed to running a model United Way Campaign, was presented to Southern Nuclear Operating Company. They not only raised over $265,000 for the 2013 campaign, they also had a 37% increase over the previous year.

The Award of Excellence was presented to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for their outstanding support of 11 United Way’s throughout the CSRA. Through all the changes they have experienced, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions continues to keep community in the forefront. And, special awards were presented to five companies who each raised over $100,000 for the 2013 Campaign: Club Car, International Paper, Kelloggs, Publix Super Markets, and Southern Nuclear Operating Company.

In honor of United Way’s Derby theme at the Kickoff last August, they introduced a special competition to award their very own “United Way Triple Crown” to a company with the best model campaign, high employee per capita giving, and high participation. Publix Super Markets, Inc. was announced as the winner of the Triple Crown. Tom Blanchard, 2013 Campaign Chair said, “Publix strives to be number one in their communities every day…not only as a business, but as responsible citizens involved in their communities. George Jenkins founded Publix with the spirit of giving in mind and you can see that giving spirit come through each year. Not only do their associates donate to the campaign, but they participate in all aspects of running a model campaign.”

See the photos from the event >>